First Look: USB-powered Mimo 710-S display (which you could win)

Whenever I'm traveling on business, I rely on my lightweight and compact MacBook Air. There's only one problem with my MBA as far as I'm concerned -- the screen can sometimes seem too small when I have a lot of applications running simultaneously. What I need is a portable monitor that I can just hook up to display a frequently updated window off to the side of my primary display.

That's where the Mimo 710-S USB-powered monitor (US$149) could help out. It's a tiny, foldable 800 x 480 pixel monitor that weighs less than a pound.While this is predominantly a Windows-oriented product, the company provides a place to download a Mac driver. The driver install does require a reboot, which is a bit annoying but to be expected with a proprietary display driver. There's a swivel built into the monitor so that it can be rotated into a portrait configuration. While the monitor doesn't automatically rotate what is being displayed on the screen, it's a simple matter to go into the Display system preference pane for the monitor and choose "Rotate 90°."

What I found the Mimo 710-S to be useful for is running one application in a small window. For example, I always have TweetDeck up and running on my Mac, and I thought it would be cool to have the Mimo display off to one side showing nothing but TweetDeck. It worked so well that now I'm seriously considering buying one of these monitors to display nothing but my tweetstream!

This would also be a perfect little monitor to hook to a Mac mini. If you're tired of lugging a monitor over to your headless Mac mini server when you need to do troubleshooting and Screen Sharing isn't working properly, or if you just want an unobtrusive display for a kitchen Mac, the Mimo 710-S should work well for you.

There are a few things to make sure of if you're considering this little monitor. First, the drivers will only work on Intel Macs. My original thought was to use this with a G4 Mac mini, but unfortunately that's not going to happen. Also, remember that 800 x 480 pixels isn't a huge amount of real estate, so you're not going to be able to display a huge window of information -- this isn't an Apple Cinema Display, folks.

What I like about this diminutive monitor is the lack of an external power supply and how small it really is. I can easily see throwing one of these in my computer bag to give me an extra window into one app when I'm set up and doing work with a client. Here's one other thing to like -- Mimo also has a touchscreen version of this monitor called the 720-S. The Mac drivers for the touchscreen need to be purchased for US$30, but if you have plans for touchscreen control of a Mac (a tiny kiosk, for example, hiding a Mac mini), the 720-S might be perfect for you. There is also a third model, the Mimo 740, that is not only touchscreen but includes a webcam and audio input/output as well.

Now that I've put the unit through its paces, we want to give one lucky reader this Mimo 710-S monitor for free! You can enter the drawing by leaving us a single comment below. Tell us your ideas for ways to use a portable, USB-powered micro-monitor.

Here are the rules and a link to the obligatory legal statement:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.

  • To enter leave a comment with an idea for how to use a Mimo 710-S USB-powered monitor.

  • The comment must be left before Monday, August 31, 2009, 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.

  • You may enter only once.

  • One winner will be selected in a random drawing.

  • Prize: Mimo 710-S USB-powered monitor (Value: US$149)

  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

Good luck!